TEXAS CITY

Floats and revelers marched down Palmer Highway in Texas City on an overcast Saturday afternoon, kicking off the first of three weekends of Mardi Gras celebrations in Galveston County.

The Mainland Mardi Gras parade, hosted by the Rotary Club of Texas City, kicked off about noon with 5K runners and floats headed along Palmer Highway from 29th Street to the Sixth Street business district. Residents lined up along the route to catch beads and dance to the marching bands.

The gray weather seemed to have kept some people from attending the parade with slightly smaller crowds compared to previous years, attendees said. But the rain mostly held off and revelers said they were ready to celebrate the weekslong festivities.

“We’re having an awesome time,” said Amber Van Wagner, a first-time Mainland Mardi Gras parade-goer, who recently moved to Texas City from Deer Park. “I love it, I love the community interaction.”

Along the route, children and adults alike were collecting countless bead necklaces. Casey Blackburn, who lives in Texas City, had taken five children to the parade. She watches the parade every year, she said.

“The kids just have a blast,” Blackburn said. “They’re getting beads and candy and everything they can.”

Mainland Mardi Gras celebrations kicked off the season. The Rotary Club of Texas City’s eighth annual Mainland Mardi Gras gala was slated for Saturday night at the Doyle Convention Center. Mardi Gras in Galveston begins Friday.

Marissa Barnett: 409-683-5257; marissa.barnett@galvnews.com

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